Gamers spread the word about te reo

The Dominion Post - - News - Vir­ginia Fal­lon vir­ginia.fal­[email protected]

Gam­ing in te reo has thrown up an un­usual prob­lem for a new Porirua busi­ness.

While the Arepa Gamers Club is on a mis­sion to teach and fur­ther the Ma¯ ori lan­guage, it has not been as easy as Mo­kena Tu­mau­rirere had ex­pected.

‘‘There ac­tu­ally aren’t words for a lot of the gam­ing equip­ment – they don’t ex­ist – some­one needs to in­vent them.

‘‘Ma¯ ori peo­ple tend to star in the games, not make them, which is what we want to change.’’

On first glance, the club’s new premises could be any in­ter­net cafe: screens and cosy chairs line the room but small de­tails show there’s more at play.

Equip­ment is la­belled with te reo names and a sign at the door spells out ‘‘whanau rules and deals’’.

It’s gam­ing, just not as peo­ple are used to, Tu­mau­rirere said.

‘‘It’s also trick­ing kids into learn­ing. By mak­ing things fun you get them ex­cited about ed­u­cat­ing them­selves.’’

Com­mon te reo phrases used in gam­ing were ‘‘I wini ahau’’, which means ‘‘I won’’, or ‘‘ta¯karo ano¯’, which means ‘‘play again’’.

Still in the early stages, the busi­ness would even­tu­ally run lan­guage classes and or­gan­ise bilin­gual competitions – they were al­ready plan­ning the Pa­cific Chal­lenge, where play­ers from dif­fer­ent na­tions would play against each other.

Cod­ing work­shops were on the cards and de­vel­op­ers would en­cour­age peo­ple – es­pe­cially Ma¯ori and Pasi­fika – to get in­volved in de­sign­ing games.

Sio Paese said the busi­ness grew from a sense of com­mu­nity, gam­ing was of­ten a soli­tary pas­time but that could be changed.

It was also a way of keep­ing young peo­ple out of trou­ble.

‘‘My mum got our first Plays­ta­tion to keep us off the streets. We con­verted the garage and that’s where ev­ery­one would hang out.’’

While pro­vid­ing a day-to-day ser­vice for peo­ple who just wanted to game, the end goal was to run events where com­peti­tors had to speak an­other lan­guage.

‘‘It’s also about chal­leng­ing the neg­a­tive stereo­types about gam­ing by show­ing it can have a pos­i­tive im­pact on fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties.’’

The busi­ness was helped by Porirua City Coun­cil’s Pop Up Porirua Pro­gramme, which helps small busi­nesses get a foothold in the city.

It will be hold­ing an open day from 4pm to 8pm on De­cem­ber 15, at 7 Serlby Place, Porirua City Cen­tre.

‘‘It’s also trick­ing kids into learn­ing.’’ Mo­kena Tu­mau­rirere, Arepa Gamers Club

Mo­kena Tu­mau­rirere, left, and Sio Paese at Arepa Gamers Club in Porirua. The new busi­ness aims to pro­mote the Ma¯ori lan­guage.

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